Five worst NFL draft classes by team of last 10 years


A good draft class can help elevate a team into contender status very quickly. On the flip side, a bad draft can set a franchise back years. Here, we take a look at the team draft classes from the last 10 years (2005-2014) that really fell short of expectations.

1. 2007 Oakland Raiders

» Team draft history
» Draft class: QB JaMarcus Russell (Round 1), TE Zach Miller (Round 2), DE Quentin Moses (Round 3), OT Mario Henderson (Round 3), WR Johnnie Lee Higgins (Round 3), RB Michael Bush (Round 4), CB John Bowie (Round 4), DE Jay Richardson (Round 5), DB Eric Frampton (Round 5), FB Oren O'Neal (Round 6), WR Johnathan Holland (Round 7)
» Players who were primary starters: 4
» Total games played: 568

Despite the constructive NFL careers of Miller (3,804 career receiving yards, member of the Seattle Seahawks' Super Bowl XLVIII-winning team) and Bush (3,250 career rushing yards), this class will forever be known for the boondoggle that was the No. 1 overall pick. Russell will be a prominent fixture in any "who was the greatest draft bust in NFL history?" debate for as long as NFL football is played.

Compounding the calamity of that selection for the Raiders is the cavalcade of future Pro Bowlers who were taken after Russell ... Calvin Johnson, Joe Thomas, Adrian Peterson, Patrick Willis, Marshawn Lynch, Jon Beason, Joe Staley, Ryan Kalil, Marshal Yanda, Eric Weddle, just to name a few.

The kicker in this draft class is Moses, who was the highest drafted player in 2007 to not make his team's Week 1 roster.

2. 2005 Minnesota Vikings

» Team draft history
» Draft class: WR Troy Williamson (Round 1), DE Erasmus James (Round 1), OG Marcus Johnson (Round 2), DB Dustin Fox (Round 3), RB Ciatrick Fason (Round 4), DT C.J. Mosley (Round 6), DB Adrian Ward (Round 7)
» Players who were primary starters: 4
» Total games played: 289

The Vikings had two first-round picks in the 2005 NFL Draft, and probably could have saved the franchise's fans years of grief by drafting Aaron Rodgers and keeping him out of Green Bay. However, quarterback Daunte Culpepper was coming off a career year in 2004 (39 touchdowns and a league-leading 4,717 yards passing). After Randy Moss posted a then-career-low 767 yards receiving in 2004, the franchise decided it had enough of the controversial receiver and traded him to the Oakland Raiders. In return, the Vikings got the Raiders' No. 7 overall pick, which the team used on the player they thought would be Moss' successor, Williamson. That didn't happen. Williamson possessed the speed to be a deep threat, but had a bad case of the dropsies.

James had an injury-riddled career in which he recorded just five sacks. The most productive NFL player from this draft class is Mosley ... the otherC.J. Mosley, not the 2014 Pro Bowler for the Baltimore Ravens.

3. 2012 Jacksonville Jaguars

» Team draft history
» Draft class: WR Justin Blackmon (Round 1), DE Andre Branch (Round 2), P Bryan Anger (Round 3), LB Brandon Marshall (Round 5), CB Mike Harris (Round 6), DT Jeris Pendleton (Round 7)
» Players who were primary starters: 2
» Total games played: 167

Running concurrently with the Seahawks' epic draft hauls of 2010-12 was the Jaguars' grisly three-year draft haul that shepherded the three-year run of top-three first-round draft spots that followed.

We will pick on the 2012 draft class because that was the year that the Jaguars selected a punter in the third round. Anger, however, did lead the league in yards per punt in 2014. Branch, meanwhile, has 10 career sacks.

Looking to give 2011 first-round draft pick Blaine Gabbert a major weapon to utilize in the passing game, the Jaguars took Blackmon with the No. 5 overall selection in 2012. Three years later, Gabbert was gone and Blackmon was absent. Blackmon's absence from the playing field is most troubling. After starting 14 games and compiling 865 yards and five touchdowns receiving in his rookie season, Blackmon hasn't played since Week 8 of the 2013 season after multiple suspensions due to violations of the league's substance abuse policy.

4. 2012 San Francisco 49ers

» Team draft history
» Draft class: WR A.J. Jenkins (Round 1), RB LaMichael James (Round 2), OG Joe Looney (Round 4), LB Darius Fleming (Round 5), OT Jason Slowey (Round 6), LB Cam Johnson (Round 7)
» Players who were primary starters: 0
» Total games played: 113

While the 2010 and 2011 draft classes helped the 49ers reach Super Bowl XLVII, the draft class of 2012 might be a contributing factor to the team's current roster upheaval. The 2012 draft class has combined for just eight career NFL starts (no starts coming during their rookie seasons); no team's draft class outside of the 2014 draft has produced fewer total starts.

Jenkins has just 17 career receptions, but none came during his time in San Francisco. After two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, Jenkins was released. James has just 193 career rushing yards and is no longer a part of the 49ers' organization. With four starts in 2014, Looney accounts for the bulk of those eight starts among the 2012 draft class. Getting little to no value from this draft might cost the 49ers dearly in terms of roster depth moving forward from their tumultuous 2015 offseason.

5. 2013 Miami Dolphins

» Team draft history
» Draft class: DE Dion Jordan (Round 1), CB Jamar Taylor (Round 2), OT Dallas Thomas (Round 3), CB Will Davis (Round 3), LB Jelani Jenkins (Round 4), TE Dion Sims (Round 4), RB Mike Gillislee (Round 5), K Caleb Sturgis (Round 5), SS Don Jones (Round 7)
» Players who were primary starters: 1
» Total games played: 206

The Dolphins' 2006 draft class is also worthy of a mention here, but the 2013 class gets the nod for a couple of reasons.

What might go down as the worst overall draft class in NFL history -- in totality, not by team -- must have a representative here, and that dubious honor belongs to the Dolphins. The blatant error from this draft for the Dolphins is the selection of Jordan, who is steamrolling toward "all-time draft bust" status. Miami traded up nine spots -- with the Oakland Raiders -- to move into the No. 3 hole to pick Jordan, who entered that year's draft drawing comparisons to Dolphins great Jason Taylor. Instead, Jordan spent much of his first two seasons as a situational pass rusher, and will miss the entire 2015 season after another violation of the league's substance-abuse policy.

Of the eight field players taken in this draft -- a ninth selection was kicker Caleb Sturgis -- only one has been able to see consistent time as a starter: Jelani Jenkins, who made 14 starts at linebacker for the Dolphins in 2014.

The Browns' draft class from 2013 also is teetering dangerously close to an unfortunate place on this list, but there's still hope that top pick Barkevious Mingo can be the "bitch kitty" that coach Mike Pettine covets so dearly.

Also considered:

2012 Cleveland Browns: It's easy to point fingers and laugh at the Browns' mounting draft mistakes in recent years, and the team's 2012 draft class serves as an epicenter of this torment. The team had two first-round selections and missed badly on both (this scenario is threatening to play out again with the team's two 2014 first-round selections, too). The Browns traded up a spot to get running back Trent Richardson at No. 3 overall and then took quarterback Brandon Weeden -- whose advanced age was a pre-draft concern -- at pick No. 22. The Browns were able to parlay Richardson into another first-round selection (which ultimately was used to pick Johnny Manziel) after a trade with the Indianapolis Colts. Some moves have helped save this draft class from total calamity. Second-rounder Mitchell Schwartz has started every game of his career. Fourth-rounder Travis Benjamin is a dangerous return specialist. Pro Bowl safety Tashaun Gipson was an undrafted rookie free-agent pickup for the team following the draft.

2011 Philadelphia Eagles: Only two of 11 players selected in this draft remain with the Eagles (offensive linemen Julian Vandervelde and Jason Kelce, who made his first Pro Bowl last season). First-round pick Danny Watkins failed to secure a foothold on a starting job in Philadelphia and is now out of the league. Second-round pick Jaiquawn Jarrett intercepted two passes and had a fumble forced and recovered in 2014, but did so for the New York Jets.

2010 New York Jets: Aside from Rex Ryan's delightful infatuation with "The Terminator" -- John Conner -- on "Hard Knocks", this draft class has done little of note. All four players selected started at least one NFL game, but haven't been the impact players the team expected. First-round pick Kyle Wilson was a regular starter in just one of his five NFL seasons (2012). Second-round pick Vladimir Ducasse made just five starts for the Jets and is now on his third NFL team.

2010 Carolina Panthers: This draft class will help explain why the Panthers owned the No. 1 overall selection a year later (which it used on quarterback Cam Newton). Quarterback Jimmy Clausen was selected in the second round, and his career totals include twice as many interceptions (10) as touchdown passes (5). Third-rounder Brandon LaFell finally emerged as the receiving threat the Panthers likely envisioned on draft day, but did so for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. Another third-round pick, Armanti Edwards, was famous for helping pull off one of the greatest upsets in college football history, but couldn't transition from dual-threat college QB to NFL WR. On the field, Greg Hardy -- a sixth-rounder -- emerged as a dangerous pass rusher. Off-the-field issues, however, have become a high-level concern.

2008 San Francisco 49ers: First-round pick Kentwan Balmer never panned out, and then was shipped to the division rival Seattle Seahawks in 2010 after a mysterious absence from training camp.

2007 St. Louis Rams: First-round pick Adam Carriker lasted just two seasons with the Rams (he did miss the 2009 season with an injury), and registered the majority of his nine career sacks as a member of the Washington Redskins. He is attempting to resurrect his NFL career after participating at the inaugural Veteran Combine in March. Second-round pick Brian Leonard also lasted just two seasons in St. Louis.

2007 Denver Broncos: The Broncos were so enamored with first-round pick Jarvis Moss that they traded up into the Jacksonville Jaguars' No. 17 overall spot -- sending the Jaguars their first-, third- and fifth-round picks in exchange. That move left the Broncos with few selections with which to work the rest of the draft. Moss didn't live up to the high expectations, recording six sacks over a lackluster six-year career in Denver and Oakland. Compounding that misstep was the fact that second-round pick Tim Crowder lasted just two seasons with the team.

2006 Miami Dolphins: Three of the Dolphins' five draft selections were seventh-rounders. Then-coach Nick Saban sent a second-round selection to the Minnesota Vikings in exchange for quarterback Daunte Culpepper. The team was considering acquiring Culpepper or Drew Brees. It chose Culpepper -- Brees failed the team's physical -- and it was the New Orleans Saints who benefited tremendously from that decision. The Dolphins' first-round selection, Jason Allen, had a protracted holdout that extended into training camp. Allen started just 23 games in seven NFL seasons, but did somehow manage to survive three different coaching regimes in Miami.

2006-2008 Washington Redskins: Like the Dolphins in 2006, the Redskins had few selections in 2006 -- six total -- and it was a trade for a quarterback that took away a valuable first-rounder. In the 2005 draft, the Redskins sent first- and fourth-round picks to the Denver Broncos for the right to draft Jason Campbell just one spot after Aaron Rodgers went to the Green Bay Packers (it should be noted that those selections ultimately turned into Nick Mangold to the Jets and Brandon Marshall to the Broncos in the 2006 draft). The Redskins had three consecutive drafts that were less than stellar. In the first round of the 2007 draft, the Redskins took a physical specimen of a safety -- LaRon Landry -- who was a liability in pass coverage. In 2008, the team's first three selections were offensive skill players, and only tight end Fred Davis -- a second-round pick -- had a productive career.

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

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